Bowls chief Smith enjoys Pairs success

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World Bowls CEO, Gary Smith of Linlithgow BC, teamed up with Billy Allan of Cowdenbeath to win the Able and Disabled International Invitation Pairs event staged at Bellsburn BC.

The final – sponsored by Belhaven Brewery and Caledonian Produce of Bo’ness – saw Allan and Smith orchestrate a strong finish to pip Ewan Shearer of Bo’ness and Billy Edgar.

The Allan/Smith partnership came into their own from 4-2 down, carding a double to peels then tipping the scales with a magic single to win 5-4.

“Billy produced a great lead bowl that hugged the nose of the jack and it survived several bold attempts from Ewan to dislodge it,”described Smith.

Having qualified for the knockout stage the eventual champions booked their place in the final with a 7-5 win over former national pairs champion Delia Flanigan of Blackburn and disabled international player Martin Hunter.

The other semi-final saw Edgar and Shearer win a 6-4 battle against former international skip John Aitken of Kirkliston and IBD 2011 Mixed Pairs gold medal champion Irene Edgar.

Amongst the 12 able-bodied international players and national champions was Edinburgh star Malcolm Higgenbotham of Tanfield and the two times winner of the Tait Trophy said of the second edition of the event: “My partner Gerald Blasby is visually-impaired so I had to very quickly adapt to translating my commands as skip into yards of distance from mat to jack and describe the required direction of each bowl as positions on a clock face.

“I was impressed by the quality of play from the disabled bowlers and I came to appreciate how beneficial the staging of such an event is to the sport.” The other partnerships were Lorna Smith (Linlithgow) and Barbara McMillan; Vicky Turner (Buchan Park) and Robert Conway; Sara Jane Ewing (Abbeyview) and Gary Clelland (Organiser); Lorraine Malloy (Deans) and John Hughes; Greg Baldry (East Calder) and David Thomas; Angie Uttley (Blackburn) and Alex Ainslie; Andrew Semple (Oakbank) and Maria Spence.